“For Chrissakes, Kevin! Will you remember to put the damn toilet seat down!”
Laughter rippled through the living room.
Kevin cringed as his mother’s words echoed through to him. He could feel his ears getting hot. Why must she always embarrass him like that when he had guests over?
“Sure, Ma!” he yelled back.
Another ripple of laughter.
“Why do put up with her, Kevvie?” asked Greggs. “Why don’t you just move out?”
Smitty nodded in agreement. “Yeah! You’re 34 years old! Why do you still live with your mother?”
Kevin replied, “Because I don’t have to pay rent! Do you know how expensive it is to live on your own?”
“Duh!” came the response from Greggs. “Of course we know! We both moved out ages ago. You’ll have to move out some time.”
The three were on Kevin’s sofa on a Saturday afternoon playing video games and were now entering the third hour of “FIFA 14”. A bowl of potato chips lay on the coffee table before them and on the floor were several empty cans of beer.
Greggs picked up the bowl and grabbed a handful of potato chips. Smitty, who held one of the game controllers, was trying to focus on winning the virtual soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Kevin, who had the other controller, continued speaking.
“Yeah, this friend of mine from work is always complaining about how expensive everything is. I don’t need that kind of hassle. I live here and I don’t have to worry about electricity bills or mortgage or even a food bill. There’s no stress in my mom’s house.”
“Kevin!” came a disembodied shout from his mother, somewhere in the house. “Why can’t you pick up after yourself? You have dirty coffee mugs in your room!”
Kevin hung his head and rubbed the back of his neck while Greggs and Smitty doubled over with laughter, potato chips littering the living room floor.
“You’re such a pig!” she yelled after him.
Once the laughter subsided, Greggs spoke up. “I’d rather live on my own than put up with your mom. At least she wouldn’t be going through my stuff in my room. I mean, do you really want your mom going through your things?”
Kevin tried to shrug it off. “I don’t care. She cleans my room and washes my clothes. It’s great!” Although this time, he didn’t quite sound so convincing.
On the FIFA 14 game, Muller just finished scoring the winning goal for Bayern Munchen. Greggs cheered and took the controller from Kevin, who continued extolling the virtues of living at home.
“My money is my own. I can buy whatever I want. I also don’t have to be a slave to ‘the man’, you know? I can have any job I like and I can leave when I like, because I don’t have to worry about staying in a dead end job just to pay the bills. Think about it: when was the last time you two bought new clothes?”
His guests shrugged in unison and continued playing their game.
Kevin put his feet up on the coffee table and leaned back in the sofa, hands clasped behind his head. “Trust me, guys, this is living. I’m never moving out.”
Kevin’s mother entered the living room, left arm akimbo and a sour look on her face. She nodded towards her son.
“Hey, Mr. Big Shot,” she began, “you have a growing pile of underwear on the floor in a corner of your room. Come and remove them now!”
As Greggs and Smitty turned away and burst out into a fresh round of laughter, Kevin arose to do his mother’s bidding, and pretended to laugh it off. But inside, he could feel his face and neck growing impossibly hot.